Analyzing the England squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014
Every four years the British press gives the England Football Team the favorites label and start making claims about how this time round the Three Lions will clinch the cup, but their record of no semi final appearance since 1990 speaks for itself. But the fans as always remain optimistic about their chances, and this year is no exception.
Hodgson has been quite brave in his selection for the 23 travelling to Brazil, with youngsters like Barkley and Shaw who have only a year of Premier League experience included in the squad. It will be the first World Cup for as many as 15 players in his squad of 23. In his last major tournament, Hodgson faced many injury problems while selecting his squad for Euro 2012, with Lampard, Barry, Cahill all missing out.
Added to this, Rooney wasn’t available for the first two games, so Hodgson had to make inclusions that he otherwise wouldn’t have made. Luckily for the Word Cup, he doesn’t face any such injury crisis, with Theo Walcott being the only one on the injury list.
England’s strongest area is their midfield and Hodgson has enough talent to choose from for his starting XI. Barkley, Lallana and Henderson are all coming off an excellent campaign in the Premier League, and Hodgson will be hoping to reap the benefits of their fine form in the World Cup. Lampard and Gerrard will add the extra experience and steel in the centre of the park.
In Euro 2012, Milner was deployed on the wings and although he worked his socks off , he just didn’t have the speed required for playing out wide. My guess is that Sterling and Chamberlain will be the wide men for England , and their speed and ability to put balls in the box will serve the strike force well.
It is the defence that is weak, out of the 7 defenders selected, only Baines and Shaw have had good seasons with their respective clubs. Glen Johnson is more attack minded, Smalling is prone to mistakes and Phil Jones is too inconsistent. What the defence lacks is a leader, someone like a Puyol or Terry to marshal the defence. The England defenders were completely blown away by Germany’s speed and agility in 2010; the likes of Cahill and Jagielka will have to be at their best to keep England in the running.
England’s group is the toughest out of the eight. Italy are a compact side, with a defence that can’t be broken apart easily, and also the Italians have a psychological advantage, having gotten the better of the Three Lions in the Euros. Uruguay have a strike force comprising of Cavani, Suarez ,and Forlan and made it to the semi finals last time around; Zico, the Brazilian legend even called them the dark horses of the World Cup. The fourth team is Costa Rica, a relatively easy team but certainly one that shouldn’t be over looked.
England will be hoping to finally break the quarter final jinx and make a push for the elusive golden trophy. It is to be seen if the Three Lions will roar again and if for nobody else, they can do it for their loyal fans.